Your Memories

It remains to be seen if this section of the website will become significant.  In my view the memories of former students and staff could be the most evocative aspect of the school's recorded history but it requires people to buy into the idea.  If you have a story to tell, friends or teachers to remember, please use the "Contact" button on the Home Page to send me an email and I will add it to the site.


Fond memories of Espanola Public School

Brian Hopkins, Formerly of Barber St., Now Midland Ontario.

I remember in the upper grades we were in the northerly corner of the school yard playing softball at recess. It was a fun time and good outdoor exercise too, plus helping to develop team spirit amongst us. 
Maurice Leblanc was a very athletic fellow student and could usually hit the ball well. In fact he hit it so well one day that it went through an upper window of the school. I believe that was a well deserved home run, and cheered by "all" players!

Murdina McKay Paavila, - Delta, British Columbia

I began in Grade 1 at Espanola Public School at the age of five, there was no kindergarden.  I went through Espanola Public School with honours and through high school in the same public school. We had the use of three rooms and a small lab and a small library.

After teachers, I only remember the names of Miss Christie and Miss Buckanan, Mr. Sydney Geigher who (was) principal. He was an excellent teacher and at the end of the school year he held extra morning classes on the weekend for those who needed it to pass Grade 8, but all students were welcome.

I passed with honours (and) when my children began in the school, Mr. Geigher was their inspector. My brother William also went to school there, both public and high. I remember we would do the Maypole dance both in school and the school yard.

We would be paraded from the school to the theatre for our Christmas concert. I remember playing Mary, Mary Quite Contrary on the stage. Santa Claus would come on the stage and hand out gifts. It was a beautiful theatre, but burned down. The skating rink across from the school (it had a curling rink and the big skating rink and a little shop) rooms for the girls and the boys to put on their skates. It caught fire, it was so severe that the school roof caught fire – fortunately, they put that out, we had field days in the park across from the school.

In school – when someone special came – we would be lined up on the stairs to listen to them. The school nurse had an office and the doctor would come to inspect us there.

The custodians were Mr. and Mrs. Walter Napier. They were a lovely couple. In high school, we had parents’ night in the community hall. We performed on stage. The boys showed their abilities but building up a ‘V’ with their bodies. We girls dressed up as soldiers and performed Parade of the Wooden Soldiers. I played the piano for that.

Mr. Black was our principal, a wonderful teacher. We would do exercises outside in the good weather and by out seats otherwise. We only had three rooms for all classes, so we had to do some shifting.

PS: I will be very unhappy if they tear (the school) down.


Darla Hennessey (nee Howard)  

Hi David:

 I just completed reading the article in the Espanola Monitor about AB Ellis Public School closing and the youth moving to Espanola High.  Many great memories come about as I sit here and think back to all the great things that we used to have access to.

One such item was our School Choir conducted by Mr. Bob Sproule.  What an amazing voice he had.  He would take our Choir to the competitions in Sudbury and area and always coming home with if not first place then pretty close to the top.

I had many teacher that not only did I respect but loved at the same time.  Mrs. Kelly my grade Six teacher and Mr. Boyko my grade eight teacher.  Those were two of my best years in school.  I came from a family of 11 Children and I remember that there was always a Howard in the School.

You really couldn’t get away with anything, if you had siblings ahead of you and ended up with the same teacher they knew what to expect, which really wasn’t fair.  We were all born in the same family but all had different personalities.  So many great things to remember about the School like how it got its name, the best Principal in the area at the time.  You know I remember going onto high school and walking into my English class and there is this desk at the front of the class by the Teachers Desk, we are all taking our seats and the Teacher announces that he knows he has a Howard and where was that individual.  Well I was sitting at the back of the Class only to be told by the teacher to come up to the front and enjoy my new seat beside his desk and if I need someone to thank then he told me to go home and thank Judy, Patty, Keitha and finally Kenny; he had all four and we was not putting up with anymore shenanigan for that school year.  This by the way was in Grade 9.

 I think back to all the joyous concerts, family picnics, school outings I could go on and on but there isn’t enough time in the day.  AB Ellis was a FAMILY school, everyone knew everybody and I cherish all my memories that I have. 


Hello David Boardman - Sending a bit more history to you. - Anne Melnychuk
In 1926, at the age of 12, my late aunt Ann (Onucky) Plevak came from Ukraine to her 2 sisters in Espanola, Helen Hnatchuk and Justyna Syroid. They had come from Ukraine to Espanola a few years earlier.

Aunt Ann only spoke Ukrainian but in no time at all learned English and attended Espanola Public School ( later A.B. Ellis), then Espanola Continuation School which was the northern part of the whole building.  She went to Ottawa to study nursing and returned to Espanola to work for Dr. H.H. Harvie who was the local Surgeon and Family Physician.  Aunt Ann was a life long friend of Mr. Andrew B. Ellis and his wife Enid.
Mary (Hnatchuk) Bidochka - my sister
1937 - she started grade 1  at Espanola Public School, then 5 years at Espanola Continuation School
Anne (Hnatchuk) Melnychuk - that is me
1941 - I started grade 1 at Espanola Public School - completed 8 grades in 7 years
for 3 years I attended Espanola Continuation School and the portables
-in 1951 the NEW Espanola High School opened and I completed grades 12 and 13 at the new high school.
Stella (Hnatchuk) Ross - my sister
1943 Stella attended Espanola Public School in 1951 Stella started grade 9 in the new Espanola High School - she completed her 5 years there.
John Syroid - my late cousin in Espanola
-1934 John started in grade 1 at Espanola Public School. After grade 8 he attended Espanola Continuation School.
Danny Syroid - my late cousin and brother of John Syroid
1931 - Danny completed 8 years at Espanola Public School, 5 years at Espanola Continuation School, then attended McMaster University in Hamilton.
I have many fond memories of my days at Espanola Public School - I had great teachers and Mr. Ellis (grade 8) was one of them.
I was born and raised in Espanola so I knew a lot of the residents and students.As they say, I could write a book.  I visited Espanola  often and still keep in touch with some relatives and friends.


Wayne Colbon

This was around the mid '60s. Being in gr.8...being a regular jock..l remember wanting to make the choir "big time"  Mr. Sproule knew that. Mr. Sproule was in charge of picking the choir.  He would play a song , we would sing along and he would walk around and listen to us sing. When he came to me...I gave it my best effort...he looked @ me with a disgusted look on his face...shook his head...and moved on. I was devastated for the longest time...but I got over it by